Friday, October 16, 2009

Bare Bones

--More Troops in Afghanistan,
Peray (Thailand)

You've got to ask yourself one question:

"Do I feel lucky?" Well, do ya, punk?

--Dirty Harry

One argument from last week's
Time for deploying more troops was,

This is a sound policy. If U.S. forces were not in Afghanistan, the Taliban, with its al-Qaeda allies in tow, would seize control of the country's south and east and might even take it over entirely. A senior Afghan politician told me that the Taliban would be in Kabul within 24 hours without the presence of international forces. This is not because the Taliban is so strong; generous estimates suggest it numbers no more than 20,000 fighters. It is because the Afghan government and the 90,000-man Afghan army are still so weak ("Two Arguments for What to Do in Afghanistan".)

Assuming the Taliban has the capacity to take Kabul if U.S. forces were absent: If, after eight years of phony war the Taliban with their 20,000 fighters could defeat the 90,000-man strong Afghan Army + a larger national police force, then Ranger says -- let 'em.

The war in Afghanistan boils down to one significant question:
Do we believe in freedom and self-determination, or don't we? Yes, the Taliban consists of repressive fundamentalists representing values that are repugnant to most U.S. sensibilities, but then again, our regional allies share many of these characteristic identifiers.

The number of Taliban
fighters is estimated between 10-20,000, and depending on the news source the dirty nasty al-Qaeda and generic foreign fighters are also thrown in for good measure. But the unanswered question is: Where do 10-20,000 fighters get their munitions, rations, weapons, clothing, transportation, medical support and battlefield intelligence?

Being anti-government does not just happen.
Contrary to the report that Afghans do not favor the Taliban,
someone is supporting them. This is a fact that is conveniently omitted from our canned news coverage of the war.

If the Talibs have 10-20,000 fighters, this is merely the "tip of the spear." All fighting hierarchies show the same pyramidal scheme. The ratio of fighters to support is always skewed, with
the support always outnumbering the fighters. In a counterinsurgency environment, the U.S. addresses this weakness by contracting out and using assigned troops outside of their military occupational specialties (MOS).

The anti-government forces do this by streamlining unit organization and multi-tasking. But for every Talib fighter there are at least 10 active supporters and 10-30 passive supporters. This is a fact seldom discussed: The Taliban have a solid base of support, and the U.S. military can't kill them all.

If the people desire the Taliban, then this is self-determination, and U.S. policy should not oppose this fact. If the Karzai government is a fiction that cannot stand on its own, then it has no legitimate right to exist.

COIN policy is deceitful when support for non-sustainable governments is presented to the American public as a War on Terror. Ranger lives in an alternate universe from the COINistas and the counterterrorism advocates. Neither al-Qaeda nor a Taliban-controlled Afghanistan have any significance when assessing U.S. national survival.

We Americans institutionally and personally believe that all problems can be fixed or overcome, but there are some that are insoluble. A can-do attitude does not change this fact.

Our problems are much closer to home.

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Blogger The Minstrel Boy said...

right after the sound check today we were talking about the latest afghan news from mcCrystal...

here's what this ol' jungle fighter heard.

the dude's laying out his excuses before the fact.

first, take heart because this means that somewhere in his pea picking heart he knows that he is in a no win position. therefore, groundwork must be done to make sure that the blame (general officers will take full responsibility for a failure, but never, ever, the blame. people who take the blame have to sit in the end zone for army/navy games)

he publicly asked for more troops. now, he's saying that not only does he need more troops but that he needed them faster than they are being sent.

when the inevitable disaster happens, he will be saying shit like "i begged washington for troops and they dithered. they own the bodies lying around, not me."

he's probably already looking at the list of brightly colored geedunk ribbons that he can plaster all over his chest. it's always amused me that the prettiest medals are the ones that don't involve getting shot at.

Saturday, October 17, 2009 at 1:29:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

Your analysis is as solid as a wedding pecker.
Somehow these PWOT warriors just don't strike me as real GO's but rather the movie version. Where are their CIB's??

Saturday, October 17, 2009 at 9:18:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger Joe said...

In US foreign policy the only freedom those who happen to be on the opposite side of us have is the freedoms we let them. There is no such thing as self-determination or sovereignty anymore. Our country has become the epitome of hypocrisy.

Saturday, October 17, 2009 at 7:09:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger Terrible said...

I agree 100% with Jims post and MBs comment! If the US were really concerned about bringing democracy and defeating repressive regimes wouldn't we have begun in Saudi Arabia? And McChrystal's nothing but a slick little poser, more politician then soldier. I'd be willing to bet a randomly picked street person could do as well a job in his current position.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009 at 1:13:00 PM GMT-5  

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